Heating Your Home in Winter: What’s Normal Usage, What’s Not

winter house

Here in New England, we have the pleasure of experiencing three glorious winter months each season. While most recent years have been quiet in terms of heavy snow, there is always a period of time when cold temperatures take over and staying warm is the only thing on our minds.

As a homeowner, you can easily tell when this time of the year comes around: Your utility bills go up, you’re spending more time outside with the shovel and having the kids home from school becomes a regular occurrence.

In Connecticut, we recently caught some of the air from the infamous “polar vortex” in other parts of the nation. Temperatures dipped below freezing and warnings to stay warm and indoors were abound.

While you were enjoying some time home, you might have also cranked up the heat a bit to keep cozy and maybe even realized you ran out of heating oil or propane sooner than you had anticipated.

Maybe that got you thinking: What is “normal” when it comes to usage in the winter and when should you be concerned that your system might not be working optimally and might need fixing?

What is “normal” usage?

Giving a value on what “normal usage” for oil or propane fuel is, isn’t as cut and dry and some may think.

While 0.8 and 1.7 gallons per hour while in operation is usually set as a gauge, this can vary from household to household. For a 2,500 sq. ft. house that’s working efficiently, about 5 gallons a day of fuel are burned in the winter. However, factors such as energy efficiency, drafts, and wind chill as well as the size and age of a tank and how big a house is, can all change what that “most optimal” usage amount would be.

Calculation for how much your home is using focuses on “degree day” calculation to find the average gallons burned.

To calculate this, you’d be taking heating on degree days, the size of your tank and the K-factor (unique past usage factor) to find the “sweet spot.”

Auto Delivery

If you’re not on an auto delivery plan, then paying attention and trying to predict how much fuel your home might use is a must if you don’t want to run out and get left in the cold.

Working with a reliable energy company who offers automatic delivery services, though, means you can leave those calculations up to them. With automatic delivery, they’ll track your home’s specific usage and factor in weather and other forces. Future-forward companies are even offering tank monitoring technologies that remote monitor fuel levels and send alerts whenever a fill is needed for enhanced accuracy.

Don’t spend the winters wondering if you’ll have heat to make it through the coldest night of the year. Leave that to the professionals and snuggle with your loved ones instead!